16 Oct 2017 Hearing the voices of the world’s poor
Tackling poverty worldwide is ever more urgent. Photo: Courtesy of Peru Reports.
On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, October 17, WACC calls for greater solidarity with the world’s poor people.
WACC’s pioneering work on media monitoring of poverty provides evidence to hold media outlets accountable for their representation of people living in poverty.
Recognizing the importance of responding to the needs of the poorest, WACC believes that this can only be achieved by exercising a range of communication rights that balance good governance with good citizenship.
In particular, unbiased representation of development issues – from ground-breaking news articles to social media platforms – can raise the level and quality of public debate on how to reduce poverty.
At least 80% of humanity live on less than $10 a day. Nearly half the world’s population – more than 3 billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day.
Thirty years ago, Fr Joseph Wresinski inaugurated a world day for overcoming extreme poverty. Five years later, the UN declared October 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
In 2017 the International Day aims to create “A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies”. It echoes Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
A key target of SDG 16 is ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
“WACC’s work to help alleviate poverty worldwide is reflected in its commitment to the World Bank Group’s moral imperative of Ending Extreme Poverty and Promoting Shared Prosperity,” commented WACC General Secretary Rev Dr Karin Achtelstetter.
WACC signed the moral imperative statement in October 2015.
Recent media monitoring research by WACC’s partner Fundación Colectivo Cabildeo in Bolivia found that only 10% of stories in six influential newspapers covered poverty issues.
The Bolivian research concluded that media contribute to a paternalistic and disempowering image of people living in poverty, while presenting the State as the primary agent for solutions to all their problems.
Last year, WACC partnered with Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN) in Zimbabwe to implement a citizen journalism project called “Using digital platforms to enhancing communication rights and inclusion among marginalized citizens”.
The aim was to raise the public profile of poor communities and to enhance access to information in relation to decision-making processes in Chitungwiza, a small city south of Harare.
WACC advocates greater solidarity with the world’s poor people in the spirit of Fr Joseph Wresinski’s original call: “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”